If you’re looking to invest in a solar solution in Pakistan in 2018 complete with high quality solar panels, batteries and inverters, you’ve come to... The Complete Solar Guide for Pakistan Including Prices (2018)

If you’re looking to invest in a solar solution in Pakistan in 2018 complete with high quality solar panels, batteries and inverters, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the most comprehensive guide on Solar Energy and in Pakistan updated for 2018. This is the first of a series of articles and resources on solar systems that loadshedding.pk will be bringing to you over the coming months. This guide has been updated to cater to the needs of existing and prospective home owners who’re looking to install solar energy systems in Pakistan. This detailed article provides answers to common questions such as:

  • How much solar systems cost in Pakistan?
  • How to effectively install a solar energy system for your home in Pakistan?
  • What brands of panels and inverters to use?

Introduction

Frequent load shedding, high electricity bills, power blackouts and never ending UPS battery issues! All of these probably sound familiar to an average Pakistani. In the past few years, one viable alternative to counter power and energy problems has emerged in the form of solar panels. While still not very common, solar panels are increasingly becoming popular across the country, both in urban areas and in rural regions which have access to very little or no electricity at all. The switch towards using solar panels is due to the dramatic decrease in the prices of photovoltaic equipment and the global drive towards clean and alternative energy.

As we write this article, a Swiss paneled aircraft is attempting the first fuel-free solar flight around the world. Though research and development on solar panels has been going on for several decades, a worldwide awareness of the environmental hazards of fossil fuels and their finite nature grew in the last 30 years, partly as a result of the oil crisis of the 70’s.

Currently the 3rd generation of solar panels are being produced which cost much less and are much more malleable than the 1st and second generation panels. With a population of about 180 million and a growing economy, Pakistan has extremely high energy needs. As a net energy importer, facing serious energy shortages, Pakistan needs to move to a sustained transition towards renewable energy using its plentiful indigenous resources. In recent years, governments have been promoting renewable energy to reduce the country’s dependence on any single source to help mitigate against supply disruptions and price fluctuations, create jobs and reduce social inequality and green house emissions. Pakistan has also pledged action under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. According to the Alternative Energy Board, Pakistan receives solar irradiation of about 2MWh/m2 and 3000 hours of sunshine a year, which is at the highest end of solar insulation averages. A number of projects at the macro level across the country are underway like the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Bahawalpur, which will be completed later this year, covers an area equivalent to 500 soccer fields and will generate 1000MW of electricity.

Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (Near Bahawalpur)

Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park (Near Bahawalpur)

While large scale solar solutions can cost millions of rupees, solar panels for residential and domestic use are cost effective and readily available in the market. This article will explore the types and prices of solar panels that are available in Pakistan and also describe how a solar system works. Solar panels use the sun as a source of energy. However this energy can only be converted to power and electricity through a solar system that is made up of different elements that work together to produce electricity. These elements include a solar panel, inverter, and a battery. Each of these elements comes in different sizes which impact the performance of the solar system. Figure 1 shows how solar systems work.

How Solar Works?

How Solar Works?

What is a Solar Panel?

A solar panel is the main part of the solar system. It absorbs the sun’s rays and converts it to electricity. This is done through photovoltaic cells, which are hundreds of semiconductors combined to form a circuit. When the light shines on the cells, they convert it into DC current. When there is no more light, the cells stop producing electricity. The photovoltaic cells are housed in a rigid frame that is strong enough to withstand environmental roughness. The frame is covered by a glass to protect the cells from rain, strong winds or extreme temperatures and a built-in drainage hole in the glass to drain out any moisture or water that might have build up. The solar panels are either monocrystalline panels or polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline panels are black in color, have no edges, and are slightly smaller in size than polycrystalline panels. Polycrystalline panels are dark blue in color, and generate more electricity than monocrystalline panels. Figure 2 shows how solar cells work.

How Solar Cells Work

How Solar Cells Work

A residential solar panel measures 65 inches by 39 inches (L x W), while a commercial solar panel is usually 77 inches by 39 inches in width. The depth of both is 1.8 inches. The residential panel is made up of 60 photovoltaic cells, while a commercial panel can have anywhere from 72 to 96 photovoltaic cells. Since households consume relatively less electricity than commercial ventures or organizations hence they need only one solar panel to provide the required electricity. Whereas businesses and organizations consume more electricity therefore they need more panels. They also have more space and area to house solar panels which makes it easier to install 5 or 10 solar panels to fulfill their electricity requirements. A solar panel can generate anywhere from 50 W to 270W depending on how bright the sun is. This equates to almost 10kWh daily and about 38kWh energy per month. The amount of electricity consumed depends on the usage.

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Average Daily Electricity Consumption of Household Appliances

A typical house consumes anywhere from 300 to 900kWh per month. The table below shows the average daily electricity consumption of household items.

Appliance Estimated Daily Usage (Watts)
Electric Clothes Dryer 3,400
Oven 3,000
Hair Dryer 1,538
Dishwasher 1,200-1,500
Coffee Machine 1,500
Microwave 1,500
Toaster 1,200
Iron 1,100
Room AC 1,100
Vacuum Cleaner 500
Blender 300
Water Pump (Boar) 1/3-1HP 1,200
Monitor 150
Computer 120
Portable Fan 100
Ceiling Fan 100
Stereo 60
Shaver 15
Laptop 60-250
Regular TV 190
Plasma TV 340
LCD TV 215
40W Energy Saver (left on for 6 hours) 11
20 cu.Ft. Fridge 1,410
15 cu. Ft. Fridge 1,200

Don’t forget to read our comprehensive and informative guide on solar air conditioners for Pakistan.  The amount of electricity consumed depends on how many items are used. Most of the high energy consumption appliances are used in summers like Air conditioners and refrigerators, and with longer summer days, the solar panels are able to produce more electricity to meet the demands.

Types of Solar Panels Available in Pakistan – Updated for 2018

With the demand for solar systems continuing to rise, solar companies are turning up the heat by offering competitive deals for clients. Most solar panels installed in Pakistan are imported from Canada, Germany, China, and USA. Thus, end users are benefitting by getting great value for their investment. Not only competitive prices are being offered, but better systems are being offered to customers. As a result more and more consumers are turning towards solar solutions in Pakistan to power their homes and save electricity costs.

Few years ago, there were a limited number of solar system panels you could choose from. Today, you have the choice to choose a variety of solar panels. Among the top quality solar panel additions are:

SolarWorld is one new solar panel manufacturer in the market. It offers both Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels that are manufactured in USA. The solar panels are available in eight different sizes with the smallest panel having 36 cells while the largest panel has 72 cells. SolarWorld claims that its solar panels are powerful enough to provide power to largest of industries.

ReneSola offers solar panels that are manufactured in China. They are available in two different sizes with both being Polycrystalline solar panels. The smallest panel has 50 cells while the largest panel has 72 cells.  ReneSola solar panels are ISO certified and have received the top product award from Bloomberg (USA), Canada Standards Association, and Photon Germany.

Jinko Solar offers solar panels that are manufactured in China. They are available in four different sizes with the smallest panel having 60 cells while the largest panel has 72 cells.  You can choose from Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline solar panels. Jinko Solar boasts of having the most efficient solar panels in the world.

Osda Solar offers solar panels that are manufactured in China. They are available in six different sizes with the smallest panel having 60 cells while the largest panel has 72 cells.  You can choose from Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline solar panels. Osda Solar panels are ISO certified.

SunTech offers solar panels that are manufactured in China. They are available in six different sizes with the smallest panel having 60 cells while the largest panel has 72 cells.  You can choose from Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline solar panels. SunTech has received quite a few awards for solar product quality.

 

Canadian Solar: is manufactured in Ontario, Canada and is the most popular solar panel used in Pakistan. It operates in 18 countries worldwide, and is the third largest solar company worldwide. Canadian Solar manufactures 7 different kinds of solar panels. The smallest of the solar panel is made of 50 cells, and the largest has 72 cells. These are further divided into monocrystalline panels or polycrystalline panels. Canadian Solar also manufactures a glass-glass module which incorporates a 2 glass cover and is ideal for installation near oceans or rivers.

Lorentz: is a German based company and manufactures its panels in Germany and China. Lorentz produces LC series solar panels. There are 5 different sizes, with 36 cells the smallest and 72 cells the largest. All the panels have monocrystalline or polycrystalline option except the 60 cell panel. These solar panels have aluminum frames and three layer back sheet for cells protection.

Yingli: solar panels are manufactured in Baoding, China. Yingli Solar operates in 30 countries worldwide, and is the largest solar company worldwide. Yingli Solar manufactures the YGE and PANDA solar panels for residences and commercial usage. The smallest panel has 48 cells, and the largest 72 cells. All the panels have monocrystalline or polycrystalline option except the 72 cell panel. These panels are highly efficient because they minimize power loss.

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LDK: solar panels are manufactured in Jiangxi, China.LDK Solar manufactures about 8 solar panels offering only 60 or 72 cells solar panels. All the panels have monocrystalline or polycrystalline option. These panels perform well in low light conditions.

Even with the choice of so many solar panels to choose from, Canadian Solar still remains the most popular solar panel for consumers.

The total cost of owning a solar system has slightly been reduced, with the updated prices added in the table below.

Best Options for Inverters Available in the Market

Household electrical appliances work on AC current, and not DC current, therefore an inverter is connected to the solar panel to convert the produced DC current into AC current. Inverters have different power ratings ranging from 1kVA to 10kVA. The higher the rating, the more electricity will be produced. Table 2 shows the different types of inverters available in the market:

  Types of Inverter Features
1 Modified Sine Wave Power
  1. Produces small amounts of electricity
  2. Useful for charging cell phone or laptop or small installations like a camping cabin
2 True Sine Wave Power
  1. Produces enough electricity to meet the demands of a house.
  2. Is the most popular and widely used inverter.
3 Stand Alone
  1. Used when a rechargeable battery is part of the solar system. Electricity from the solar panel is saved directly in the battery and is passed from the battery to the stand alone inverter for conversion into an AC form, when it is needed for consumption.
  2. It is useful when there is no power grid in the location or an area that suffers from heavy load shedding. Since the system depends on the battery to produce power, it will continue providing electricity as long as the battery functions properly.
4 Grid Tie
  1. Used when the solar system is connected to the local power grid.
  2. The electricity from the solar panel is converted by the inverter and then sent to the power grid through an electric meter.
  3. When the electricity is being passed to the power grid, the electric meter runs in the reverse direction to ensure you are getting credit for the electricity produced. This system not only produces electricity that is used in the house but also produces electricity that is sold to the utility provider.
  4. Since Pakistan does not have the required infrastructure, currently this inverter cannot be installed at residences. Only a few heavy industries have this system installed, and are able to sell the generated electricity to WAPDA.
5 Dual Inverter System
  1. This is the most powerful solar system.
  2. Contains features of both the stand alone and grid tie inverter.
  3. In this system, the electricity is first sent to the battery or batteries. When the batteries are charged and are not capable of holding more current, the system bypasses the batteries and sends the electricity to the inverter, which after converting the current sends the electricity to the grid through the electric meter to ensure you receive credit for the produced electricity.
  4. They have the high power ratings since they need to produce a lot of electricity to be able to supply to the local grid.

Most inverters in Pakistan are mainly imported mainly from Taiwan and a few from the United States as well. There have been additions of few inverters in the market.  The notable ones are by Schneider Electric and Fronius SYMO.

Below are some of the most popular ones:

Voltronic inverters are manufactured in Taiwan by Voltronic Power Technology Corp. They have been manufacturing inverters for over 20 years, and are the most popular inverters used in Pakistan solar systems. The company manufactures 12 different inverters including the Atom, Mighty, Axpert, PowerAVR, Scudo, Shieldo, Defendo, and Aegis series. The Axpert series inverters are imported to Pakistan. This series contains five different inverters which have a power rating from 700VA to 5kVA.

Outback panels are manufactured by Outback Power in Arlington, Washington state, USA. It manufactures the Radian series, Off-grid series, and grid hybrid series. The grid hybrid series is the top of the line inverter series offering 91% greater power saving and return in short period of time.

Morning Star inverters are manufactured in Pennsylvania, USA. They have been supplying inverters to 112 countries worldwide and their products are considered to be very advanced and of the highest quality. It manufactures the SureSine series inverters that offer 92% power saving and can handle 200% power surge.

Schneider Electric is one of the leading electric companies of the world. It is based in Vancouver Canada and has regional offices in Europe, USA, and USA. Schneider Electric offers four different inverters, including a hybrid inverter, with the power rating from 4,024VA to 10kVA.

Fronius SYMO is an Austria based company manufacturing inverters since 1995. It claims to have the most powerful inverters that can provide power to any size commercial industry. Only one of its inverters is available in the market with power rating between 10kVA-15kVA.

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Types of Batteries for Solar Systems

Table 3 below gives details about the different types of batteries available for use in the solar system:

Types of Batteries Features
 1 Flooded lead acid
  1. This is the most common battery and lasts longer than the rest.
  2. It has to be maintained regularly, the water level and other maintenance has to be monitored frequently.
  3. Releases gas when it is charged hence has to be placed outdoors
2 Sealed Battery
  1. This is a maintenance free battery and does not need frequent water checks or other monitoring.
  2. Does not release gas hence it can be places indoors.
3 Deep Cycle
  1. Only useful for a small system
  2. Does not have the capacity to produce electricity for a long time and undergoes many charge-discharge cycles daily
4 Absorbed Glass Matt
  1. Features a glass mat between the plates which enables the battery to be charged for longer than a traditional battery.
  2. It is leak proof and does not discharge gas on charging

Commonly Available Battery Brands

The batteries used in the solar systems in Pakistan are both local and imported. Details of the imported ones are as follows:

Narada: batteries are manufactured in Hangzhou, China. Narada operates in Asia, Europe, USA, and Latin America. They are one of the most popular import brands in Pakistan and produce 18 different series of batteries. Each series falls into three categories, AGM battery, new type gel battery, and traditional gel batteries.

Sacred Sun: batteries are manufactured in Shenzhen, China by Shandong Sacred Sun Power Sources Company. It has sale offices in 50 different countries and produces 15 different series of batteries with 6 of the series specially manufactured for solar systems.

Prices and Configurations of Traditional Available Solar Systems

There are quite a few solar system configurations available in the market. Most of them are configured for industries, with only a few options for residences. Table 4 shows details of some of the traditional configurations available in Pakistan. All prices are in PKR.

Watts Electrical Appliances Supported Solar Panel Cost Hybrid Inverter Cost Battery Cost Installation + cabling cost Solar panel stand Estimated Total Cost (2018)
300 1 fan, 2 energy savers 20,000 17,000 24,000-39,000 52,000 7000 120,000-135,000
600 2 fans,2 energy savers and 1 LCD TV 24,000 17,000 24,000-39,000 52,000 7000 124,000-139,000
750 3 fans, 4 energy savers and 1 LCD TV 60,000 22,000 48,000-78,000 52,000 7000 189,000-219,000
1,000 3 fans,4 energy savers , 1 LCD TV and 1 0.75 HP water pump 80,000 22,000 96,000-156,000 52,000 7,000 257,000-317,000
1,500 5 fans,10 energy savers, 2 LCD TVs, 1 laptop and 1 1.5 HP water pump 120,000 28,000 96,000-156,000 52,000 7,000 303,000-363,000
2,000 6 fans, 10 energy savers,2 LCD TVs,2 laptops,1 1.5 HP water pump and 1 water dispenser 160,000 28,000 96,000-156,000 52,000 7,000 343,000-403,000
2,500 5 fans, 12 energy saver lights, 2 LCD TVs, 2 laptops, and 1 refrigerator/freezer. 200,000 36,000 96,000-156,000 52,000 7,000 391,000-451,000
3,000 5 fans, 12 energy saver lights, 2 LCD TVs, 2 laptops, 1 refrigerator/freezer, and 1 1.5ton AC for 6 hours. 240,000 55,000 96,000-156,000 52,000 7,000 450,000-510,000
4,000 7 fans, 15 energy saver lights, 3 LCD TVs, 2 laptops, 1 refrigerator/freezer, and 1 1ton AC for 12 hours 320,000 65,000 192,000-312,000 52,000 7,000 348,000-468,000
5,000 8 fans, 20 energy saver lights, 3 LCD TVs, 2 laptops, 1 refrigerator/freezer, and 1 1.5ton AC for 12 hours 400,000 80,000 192,000-312,000 52,000 7,000 731,000-851,000

Prices and Configurations of Non-traditional Available Solar Systems

Nontraditional solar systems utilize your existing UPS. They include a solar panel, charge controller, existing UPS batter, and the existing UPS. Instead of the inverter, the charge controller is used. This system is available in 4 configurations as follows.

700VA UPS system: It supports 2 fans and 2 energy savers. It uses a 300W solar panel, 20A charge controller, and its cost including installation and equipment is Rs 49,000.

1kVA UPS system: It supports 3 fans and 3 energy savers. It uses a 500W solar panel, 30A charge controller, and its cost including installation and equipment is Rs 89,000.

2kVA UPS system: It supports 5 fans, 5 energy savers, and 1 LCD TV. It uses a 1000W solar panel, 60A charge controller, and its cost including installation and equipment is Rs 168,000.

3kVA UPS system: It supports 6 fans, 10 energy savers, and 1 LCD TV. It uses a 1600W solar panel, 60A charge controller, and its cost including installation and equipment is Rs 249,000. These configurations are cheaper than a regular solar system because they require less equipment. Since the UPS is already set up and won’t require much cabling, the only expensive item is the solar panel. Regardless of the solar system you choose, it’ll take about a week for it to be installed in your house. The solar panels have either 10 or 25 years of warranty, depending on which brand you choose. The inverter has a year warranty, and the battery has 6 months warranty. Once the system has been installed, the estimated payback time on the investment is almost 2-3 years.

If you have any questions regarding solar panels or its pricing for Pakistan, please make sure you leave a comment below or visit our Solar FAQs.